As the Vikings finish up the first half of their schedule this weekend in Green Bay, they might also be finishing up their battles against the 3-4 defensive scheme. Beginning in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns and continuing this week with the Packers, the Vikings have faced a 3-4 defense in 6 of the first 8 weeks of the season.
The scheme doesn’t necessarily add another level of difficulty – if it did then everyone would use it – but it does present unfamiliar looks for the Vikings, who don’t typically face the scheme as much.
“We’ve played quite a few in a row,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said on Thursday. “But obviously when you play that many in a row you get better at it, you get used to seeing it.”
Just as it is with facing different 4-3 schemes across the league, the 3-4 scheme has several different versions and each team presents its own set of challenges for opposing offenses.
“Each team presents different issues with their 3-4 and how they run it,” Bevell explained. “What type of guys they have on the edge, what type of big guys they have in the middle, if they reduce the front or not. Again this is a stout one that we’re playing (this week).”
Earlier in the week, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress described the Packers version of the 3-4 as more of a “New England” 3-4 – likening it to the Patriots scheme – as opposed to a “Pittsburgh” 3-4, which current Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has familiarity with from his time with the Steelers.
So even though the Vikings saw a 3-4 scheme against Baltimore in Week 6 and Pittsburgh last week, what the Purple sees this week could be significantly different.
One element in the Packers 3-4 scheme is a look that includes 5 LBs on the field at the same time, a tactic they’ve used periodically this year. Against the Vikings in Week 4, Green Bay also used their nickel package to matchup with the Vikings 2-TE, 2-WR look, not a common tactic to use against such a heavy offensive set.
Another factor for the Vikings to consider is the way Green Bay will utilize one of their best defenders, Aaron Kampman. In Week 4, Kampman was relatively quiet against the Vikings, registering just 5 tackles but not a sack or pass defensed. In order to free him up against the Vikings this week, Green Bay may try a different tactic.
“I think they’re rushing him more, letting him put his hand in the dirt,” Bevell said when asked if he’s noticed any difference in how Green Bay has used Kampman since Week 4. “Get back to rushing the passer, which I think is helping him.”
To sum it up, Childress said, the Vikings challenge this week is to be prepared for anything the Packers might throw their way.
“(There are) no articles of war,” Childress acknowledged. “I don’t have any illusions. They could play their five-linebacker thing that we thought we would see that they played the week before against St. Louis. That could be the flavor of the day this week. So you have to prepare for all.”
Tags: Darrell Bevell
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